The end of the year is here! Some of us are sad to see 2017 go. Others are over it, already! Whether you’re missing the last year already or are trying to forget it altogether, there is significant value in looking back to remember 2017.
First, it’s important to reflect on the good. Thank God for the triumphs He gave: the new job, the thriving relationship, all the good things you’re most naturally thankful for. Look through your calendar to help you remember all the amazing things God helped you accomplish last year. Write them down. This is your “Best of 2017” list. It’s important to thank God for it.
But what about the not-so-great things? The things that made us uncomfortable or even caused us pain? This would be your “Worst of 2017” list. These are the events, circumstances, or relationships that you honestly wish you could edit out of your memory forever. Maybe even just thinking of them quickens your pulse and fills you with anger or disappointment. But I’m telling you to go ahead and write them down, too.
What I want you to do is to think about your “Worst of 2017” list in a new way. What if instead of wishing these things away or wanting to rid our lives of them, we instead decided to thank God for them? What would it look like to thank God for the very things from the past year that you were especially unthankful for? What is the point of thanking God for pain, suffering, struggles, unfair situations, illness?
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul told us we’re supposed to be thankful in all circumstances. He also said he had learned the secret of being content in any situation.
It was likely not a stretch for Paul to say he had to learn the art of being thankful in all circumstances. He had to learn thankfulness, and so do we. And guess what beautiful thing happens when we learn to thank God “in all circumstances”? Our hearts begin to change. The things on our “Worst of” list lose their power. When we choose thankfulness, our security shifts from our external circumstances, to God’s eternal promises.
Over time, we learn not to get as caught in the roller coaster of negative emotions that our circumstances have caused. Thankfulness sets us free from the events of the past and fixes our eyes on the hope for the future!
So take a minute today and consider your “Best of 2017” list. Thank God for every moment. And then take it a step further. Review your “Worst of 2017” list, and instead of fuming or regretting, choose to simply thank God. Thank Him for who He was and is and always will be. Thank Him for his presence. Thank Him without conditions. Don’t forget to look back with thanks. Doing so will help you adjust your heart, grow more than you thought you could, and move forward to the best year yet—one where you’ll be content in any situation!